Hyper-Governed Young People’s Resistance to the Crushing Ubiquity of Neoliberal Violence.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 08:40
Oral Presentation
Ben LOHMEYER, Tabor College of Higher Education, Australia, Flinders University, Australia
The ongoing debate about youth and violence within sociology is beginning to integrate the significance of non-physical violence. Using data drawn from young people directly, I argue there is a need to further develop existing frameworks to conceptualise violence in structural, cultural (Galtung) and symbolic (Bourdieu) forms. These frameworks from the emerging sociology of violence facilitate two insights. Firstly, it recognises hyper-governed young people’s experiences of violation as resulting from “neoliberal violence” (Giroux, 2014, p. 224). Secondly, it facilitates a conceptualisation of the diversity of their techniques of resistance as ultimately discursive. Theirs is a search for the language through which to speak into existence new realities free from violence. The project this paper is based on involved 28 semi-structured interviews with hyper-governed young people predominantly from South Australia. Interviews were audio record and transcribed. Persistent motifs were identified through thematic analysis.

These young people, 15 – 25 years of age, were identified in this project as hyper-governed because they are subject to increased regulation and surveillance from the state. This governing is in addition to the already highly regulated period of youth. The hyper-governing of these young people is the result of their association with political action, child protection or juvenile justice systems. However, they do not passively accept the violence imposed on them. Rather, they experiment with resistance techniques that challenge the hegemony of neoliberal violence. This paper focusses on three such techniques: Democratised Surveillance, Voluntary Occupation, and Self Governmentalisation. My analysis of these stories draws on Bourdieu’s (2001) concept “symbolic violence”, Galtung’s (1969, 1990) “structural” and “cultural violence”, as well as Giroux’s (2014) “neoliberal violence”. I will demonstrate that hyper-governed young people actively resist conformity to sanctioned forms of neoliberal violence through discursive resistance.